Photo Credit: Johan Lind
I've made a new friend this semester.

His name is Roy, he's 83 years old, and he's one of the sweetest men you will ever meet. Also, he really, really likes soccer.

I first noticed him at the very beginning of this semester. He was sitting by himself on a bench by the soccer field, as he does nearly every single day, and I had such a strong urge to go and talk to him. That doesn't happen to me all that often, and as soon as the thought came, along with it came a million excuses for why I shouldn't.

"I don't know him."
"What would I even say?"
"That's kind of an awkward thing to do."
"I'm not all that great at initiating conversations with people I don't know."
"I've never been good at talking to elderly people."

Blah, blah, blah.

Still, the silly excuses won out, so I smiled (I can do that) and kept walking...and felt really lame about it afterwards.

A couple of weeks later, I had to drop off something before my 3:00 class, so I left 10 minutes earlier than usual. He was sitting there again, and I had to walk right by his bench on my way. I smiled at him, and he gave me a huge smile in return, along with, "Hey! How are you doing?" Well, there was no way I was going to keep walking then, so I went over to him and we chatted for a couple of minutes. He told me all about the soccer game from the night before, and about how great the team was doing, and how much he loved the nice weather. Eventually, I had to continue on to class, but just those few minutes brightened my whole day. Since then, I always try to stop and talk to him when I see him, even if it's only for a second.

So anyway, today has been really rough for me. Overall, I'm doing okay, but there are just those days, you know? After classes, I was feeling really lame, so I just went home and poured a bowl of cereal for lunch (my cabinets are empty--definitely time for a trip to the grocery store!). I took a bite and immediately gagged. Nothing like a spoonful of spoiled milk. Ugh. Off to the PCSU for Chick-fil-A it was. On my way over, I saw Mr. Roy sitting on his bench again. Honestly, I didn't feel like stopping to talk, and was going to settle for a quick wave and a smile and be on my way. Just as I was about to cross the street, though, I couldn't. All I could think was, It's just a minute of small talk. Why pass up the chance to brighten someone else's day, just because I don't feel so awesome? So I made a quick turn and went over to say hi. We chatted for a second, he asked how I was, and I told him I was heading to get lunch. He paused for a second, then asked, "Well, where are you going for lunch?" I told him. Another pause. Then, "Well, can I come with you? Maybe we can sit and eat together!"* Obviously, I wasn't going to pass that up, so off we went to the PCSU. I bought his lunch, so he insisted on buying me a Coke, and we went and sat outside to eat.

It wasn't much, and honestly it was a little awkward at times when I didn't know what to say, but at the same time, it made my day so much better. I was hoping to give what I could to brighten his day a little, but I'm pretty sure he did a million times more for me than I did for him! He even asked me to come sit and watch the soccer game with him on Saturday :) It's just another one of those little things that come from the most unexpected places. Those are always the best.

Until next time (a slightly more serious list of things I like)...
*This was so precious to me. He was so sweet and eager and excited about it. I love it.
**Actually, I really like that whole section--verses 16-22. I can't rescue myself from any situation; I'm not strong enough...even at my strongest. Only God. Even when it seems like He's nowhere to be found, I have to trust that He's going to help me, because seriously, what other hope do I have? Without Him, I'm screwed.
***I have never been a crier, but good grief. God keeps sending me little things that are so perfect at just the right time, and they hit me so hard. I can't help myself!

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